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Shhhh! As the world waits for Obama to voice his opinion on Gaza, America's President-elect hits the golf course

Barack Obama remained silent over the violence in Gaza as Israel today threatened to continue its attacks for weeks.

Instead, the President-elect is continuing his 12-day Christmas holiday in Hawaii and was seen enjoying a round of golf.

He joined a group of friends at a private club near his £6million rented, beach-front holiday home yesterday.

TVNL Comment: Meet the next George W. Bush.


Obama should engage Hamas, former U.S. envoy says

The former U.S. special envoy to the Middle East said Tuesday that President-elect Barack Obama should engage with Hamas under certain conditions, and sooner rather than later.

Retired Gen. Anthony Zinni said if Obama hopes to forge a peace deal, he needs to do it at the beginning of his administration.


Bush a catalyst in America's declining influence

As President Bush's term comes to a close, the United States has the world's largest economy and its most powerful military. Yet its global influence is in decline.

The United States emerged from the Cold War a solitary superpower whose political and economic leverage often enabled it to impose its will on others. Now, America usually needs to build alliances -- and often finds that other powers aren't willing to go along. In the 1990s, America exerted leadership in all the remote corners of the globe, from the southern cone of South America to Central Asia. Now, the United States has largely left the field in many regions, leaving others to step forward.


Bush withdraws 1 of 19 pardons he issued Tuesday

President George W. Bush on Wednesday revoked a pardon he had granted only a day before — a step unheard of in recent memory — after learning in news reports of political contributions to Republicans by the man's father and other information.

Bush pardoned 19 people on Tuesday, including Isaac Robert Toussie of Brooklyn, N.Y., who had been convicted of making false statements to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and of mail fraud. On Wednesday, the White House issued an extraordinary statement saying the president was reversing his decision in Toussie's case.

White House press secretary Dana Perino said the new decision was "based on information that has subsequently come to light," including on the extent and nature of Toussie's prior criminal offenses. She also said that neither the White House counsel's office nor the president had been aware of a political contribution by Toussie's father that "might create an appearance of impropriety."

TVNL Comment: This is the first decent action that George W. Bush initiated during his entire reign.


President Bush pardons Brooklyn home scammer

President Bush pardoned a Brooklyn real estate developer accused of scamming hundreds of poor, minority homebuyers - and whose father donated $28,500 to the Republican Party this year.

Bush pardoned Isaac Toussie, 36, two days before Christmas in a gesture of mercy that outraged ex-customers who said they were duped into buying overpriced, defective homes.

"We're in the middle of a mortgage crisis [and] this is somebody who was alleged to have participated in predatory lending practices," said Peter Seidman, a lawyer who represents 460 people who say they were fleeced.

"To pardon Isaac Toussie is a kick in the teeth to homeowners struggling with mortgages they can't afford."


Washington lobbying booms as economy tanks

“Usually, December is a very slow month on all fronts, but this year it has been incredibly busy,” said Steve Elmendorf, a lobbyist and one-time senior adviser to former House Democratic leader Richard Gephardt (Mo.).

“Anytime government gets more active and more involved in your business, you’ll look for more help in Washington,” he said. “When Democrats control both chambers of Congress and the White House, there’s no question that government will be more active.”


Bush E-Mails May Be Secret a Bit Longer

The required transfer in four weeks of all of the Bush White House's electronic mail messages and documents to the National Archives has been imperiled by a combination of technical glitches, lawsuits and lagging computer forensic work, according to government officials, historians and lawyers.

Federal law requires outgoing White House officials to provide the Archives copies of their records, a cache estimated at more than 300 million messages and 25,000 boxes of documents depicting some of the most sensitive policymaking of the past eight years.


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